Regeneration a priority for Lancaster City Council's proposed budget

Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet has proposed a wide-ranging programme of investment to ensure the district thrives as a vibrant regional centre.

On Wednesday January 31 Full Council will consider budget proposals put forward by the council’s Cabinet.

Councillors will hear that while the council only faces a small budget deficit for 2018/19, this rises to £0.9M in 2019/20 and £2.3M in 2020/21.

In addition to a proposed council tax increase of around 12p per week for a Band D property, the proposed budget includes innovative ways to generate income to protect vital services and be in a position to progress major regeneration projects.

A key project will see the recruitment of additional staff to help keep the streets clean and take action against fly-tippers, as part of a wider project to transform the way services like cleansing and grounds maintenance are delivered.

Other proposals include investing in key regeneration sites, including the Heysham Gateway, to make them suitable for inward investment while generating an income for the council, and developing a new visitor attraction at Williamson Park.

Coun Anne Whitehead, Cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “Over the last eight years we’ve seen a continual assault on our finances from the government.

“Our budget proposals seek to minimize the impact of these cuts as far as possible by reducing the pressure on the council’s finances and helping to meet our priority of continuing to protect services for our most vulnerable citizens.

“We have achieved this by looking at ways we can be more efficient and generate more income, while at the same time investing in the future of our district with a wide-ranging regeneration programme.

“Although we are proposing a small increase in council tax, we remain one of the few councils that continues to provide 100% support to low-income households and this will help to mitigate the increase.”

Proposals in the budget include:

•       Improving the Heysham Gateway site to attract inward investment to the district
•       Developing proposals for a solar farm at Middleton, helping to generate income
•       More street cleaning staff and an additional enforcement officer to tackle the problem of litter and fly-tippers
•       Developing attractions at Williamson Park to make it a top regional attraction and generate additional income for the council.

Cabinet will present its draft budget for 2018/19 onwards for initial consideration by Full Council on Wednesday January 31.

At that meeting, it will also seek a decision to increase the city council's portion of council tax by 2.99%, which equates to an estimated £6.40 a year for a Band D property.  Final approval for the budget will go to Full Council on Wednesday February 28.

Last updated: 25 January 2018